Bil Browning

Rep Jackie Speier: ENDA Within 5 Years

Filed By Bil Browning | July 01, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Jackie Speier, Jared Polis, Nancy Pelosi, Tammy Baldwin

Is this something new and unusual in Washington? A Congressperson who's willing to state the bluntly obvious without couching it in terms meant to keep the LGBT community's support while not moving forward on our issues?

Rep Jackie Speier, D-CA, told the Bay Area Reporter that movement on ENDA is still five years away after speaking at the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride breakfast. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a vote on ENDA this year repeatedly, tell_the_truth.jpgRep Barney Frank keeps mouthing platitudes, and openly gay Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis have also promised just-a-wee-bit-longer in exclusive video interviews for Bilerico Project, Speier lays it out bluntly:

Asked later in a brief interview if that meant the House would not vote on ENDA this year, Speier told the B.A.R., "The rest of the year is in question."

"There's no question 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be history this year," she said. "ENDA, we will have that law for sure within the next five years."
...
"I'm being realistic," she said.

What a novel concept. Let's look at the facts after the jump.

The Congressional Calendar

With Congressmembers leaving for the Fourth of July holidays and their upcoming August recess, Congress doesn't have much time left to pass the legislation. Currently held up in committee, the bill would need to be scheduled for mark up - something that's been promised for months - and that process is usually staked out well in advance.

Is ENDA not on the schedule yet? Then don't hold your breath.

The Midterm Elections

Even if ENDA is put on the calendar for late July or after the August recess, do you really think Blue Dog Democrats want to vote on LGBT rights so soon before an election where they're expected to lose seats? We are the perennial third rail of progressive politics; politicians don't want anything to do with us but our money and volunteer efforts around election time.

While lily-livered Democrats shake and quiver at the thought of standing up for the basic human rights of all Americans, the despicable Republicans slobber at the chance to bash the Democrats for being LGBT positive. The dance cards have been filled in and we're wallflowers once again.

Politics isn't about doing the right thing. It's about getting re-elected so the politician can be in office to potentially do the right thing if it's convenient and doesn't look like it'll challenge their possibility of being re-elected.

It's the Senate, Stupid

As Speier points out the Bay Area Reporter, there are over 300 bills waiting for the Senate to take action. These pieces of legislation have all passed the House already, but remain stuck in the gridlock that is the Senate.

With that many bills already waiting a turn at bat, what do you think the chances are for LGBT rights to get any play? The answer, my friends, is slim to none.

Throw in the lack of enough votes to pass the bill with the transgender protections included and you've got a recipe for disaster. Combine all of that with those pesky midterm elections - and the possibility for an even more unfriendly Senate and what we've cooked up is a mud pie for queer rights.

So what do you think? Are you holding out any hope that ENDA will get passed by both houses of Congress this year? Care to make a prediction of what year we'll actually get our right to have our employment based on our job performance instead of who we go to bed with at night?

Bilerico's Associate Editor, Dr. Jillian Weiss, is at the White House today for a briefing with Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes. She'll be asking Barnes about Speier's comment and the White House's plan on passing ENDA.

Let's see if the White House has the courage to be as "realistic" as Congresswoman Speier.


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Heh. I saw the writing on that wall a while back.

But tea leaves never really tell the whole story, now do they?

My prediction 2025 ...long after I am retired from the workforce.

Paige Listerud | July 1, 2010 3:30 PM

I'd hate to see America in 5 years, if it's going where I think it's going, which is into second-world status.

We really don't have a Dem party like FDR did. They have no balls, they gave them away long ago. They aren't the party of progressive ideas anymore. They haven't the nerve to turn the BP oil spill into a moment to revived our economy with a WPA-style program that could renovate our infrastructure and convert it to green technology. They aren't about creating jobs anymore. I don't know what they are about--other than what you said--getting re-elected.

Justice deferred is justice denied. And I'm afraid what we are really getting here is denial, pure and simple.

I still do not believe anything LGBT-related passes this year. Not even the non-compromise, non-repeal "DADT Compromise Repeal."

The votes aren't there in the Senate and they never have been. Not a single Senator has changed their mind or their position on LGBT issues. Not one.

Senator Byrd's replacement might even make it worse.

Until we replace anti-gay Senators we can't pass anything in this Congress. The only other option is to change the minds of their constituents - something we do not invest in.

The mid-terms are likely to make the situation worse. That's why everything is being delayed beyond those elections. Even the "compromise" charade will not be voted on until after November. It was put together by Democrats and Gay Inc. to create the appearance of effort and progress. It will be filibustered. It has also created a very valuable talking point for Republicans this Fall. They will suggest that "government is so corrupt and out of control they want us to approve something and then study it." We gave the enemy a gift.

Maybe we're beginning to understand the folly of politics. Maybe we are beginning to understand that there is no political solution to our equality. Maybe we'll stop wasting so much time, energy and money on politics and realize only WE can create our equality.

Yeah, I know "hope." But, I'd rather have hope based in each other and our ability, than in anything political. Plus, it's our job.

Jackie is my congresswoman and she rocks. She's way more honest and energized than Pelosi and I wish she were the speaker instead of mush-bucket Nancy.

And she's right, the senate is massively f*cking up this country. It's perhaps the most dysfunctional and certainly non-democratic part of the federal government (Wyoming deserves equal representation with California???) and I know it's never going to happen in my lifetime, but we would be better without it.

What kind of years are we talking about? Dog years? The year of the Fruit Bat?

Why can't they just clearly say "never in a million years"?

This is what happens when you irrationally insist that Transgender Rights must be tied to Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual rights. We made our bed, and Congress has told us to lie in it. For 5-15 years.

Sorry Lucas, but I call bullshit. To make your irrational claim you've even had to inflate the number of years the article says. No one said anything about "5-15 years." Rep Speier said within the next five years. If you need to exaggerate one out of three sentences, you're not exactly a credible source.

Bruce in Missouri | July 2, 2010 3:50 PM

Andrew writes: "Until we replace anti-gay Senators we can't pass anything in this Congress." So why don't you move to Missouri where anti-gay Republican Senator Kit Bond is retiring and work on the campaign of pro-gay Democrat Robin Carnahan who will be running against anti-gay Republican Congressman Roy Blunt for the open senate seat this November? Robin Carnahan has good name recognition in Missouri being the daughter of a popular two-term Missouri governor, has already won statewide office in her own right as the Secretary of State, and is competitive in fund-raising. Quit whining and start working.

I'm not whining and I've been doing a lot of work and investment.

I'm sorry, but nothing could get me to move to Missouri. Visiting was enough. Thank-you.

I hope you and your neighbors elect Robin Carnahan. She does support LGBT equality, right? Being a "Democrat" isn't enough.